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Friday, December 3, 2010

My Civil War Grandparents..William(Will) H. & Mary(Polly) M. Whitley Butler

Henry McDaniel

June, 1861 Monroe Ga. The crowd was silent as Lt. Henry McDaniel accepted the hand made flag from Hester Felker on the courthouse steps. The 11th Georgia Walton Co. Volunteers stood at attention and swelled with pride as the folded banner was unfurled. Later in July 1861, it was carried with the group of farmer soldiers to the row of wagons waiting to take the group to Atlanta to catch the train that would carry them to war.
Riding the train to Virginia, the Walton Home Guard arrived at the battlefield too late. Their train had been delayed and the First Battle of Bull Run was already over as they stepped of the train and stood in the rain without tents or blankets. They had eaten all the food packed by their wives and sweethearts on the trip and found the Fair Grounds in Richmond to be crowded with thousands of men that made up the Confederate army.
Bull Run

Barracks at Manassas Va.

House at Bull Run
Soon the July heat and rain would make their beds a muddy bog. Thousands of men trying to live out in the open would cause the drinking water to"look like lye". Those who could tried not to drink too much. Others soon started to get sick. Diseases spread rapidly through the camp and the families of Richmond opened their homes to the sick. Makeshift hospitals were opened in churches and hotels to take in the hundreds who came down with measles, typhoid, pneumonia, and dysentery.
William H. Butler was sent to Richmond to one of the "hospitals" and was soon found to be disabled with the dreaded Typhoid fever. Caused by the Salmonella germ Typhoid can lay dormant and after feeling a little better for awhile come back with a vengeance. Having a fever and dysentery with weakness and unable to eat, 20% of those who contracted this disease died eventually from complications. On August 10th, Will was discharged disabled. His discharge papers were signed by  Brig. General J.H.Winder. Winder would later be put in charge of prisons and would have been tried for the conditions at Andersonville Ga., if he had not died from a heart attack before the war was over.
William died at home a few weeks after he made it back from Virginia. He would be one of many of Zachariah Butler's grandsons who would die in the Civil War.

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